June 21, 2013, - 6:20 pm

Weekend Box Office: The Bling Ring, World War Z (Which Has Israeli Soldier Hero), Much Ado About Nothing

By Debbie Schlussel

I liked all the new movies at the box office this weekend. Two were decent. One was absolutely fabulous. (I did not see Monsters University. Sorry.)



* “The Bling Ring“: I expected to hate this movie, based on the real-life story of a group of Los Angeles-area teens who rob the homes of their favorite celebrities. But I really liked it, as an excellent portrait of today’s fame-obsessed, airheaded, Valley Girl-esque youth, who feel they are entitled to the good life without working for it, that they can just steal it. It was also a great insight into the clueless, vapid parents littered all over America. The movie was funny, entertaining, fast-paced, and didn’t leave you bored for a second. It’s also a great statement on today’s celebrities, who didn’t actually do anything substantive to earn their fame, for the most part. Paris Hilton, whose real-life, gaudy brothel-esque home was used in the filming of this movie, makes a cameo, and she’s Exhibit A (she’s famous for making a porno tape and little else).

A fashion conscious glamor girl from Calabasas, California befriends the new guy at high school, and they start breaking into homes of rich kids they know are out of town, stealing glamorous fashion items and jewelry (bling) from the homes. Soon, the two and the rest of their friends are breaking into various celebrities’ homes when they learn online that the celebs are out of town. They steal the celebrities’ expensive designer clothes, shoes, purses, and other items (including a gun), and they’re brazen about it, including on social media. (The celebrities include Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Lindsay Lohan, and others of that age group.)

It’s based on a Vanity Fair article of the same name, and much of the dialogue comes word-for-word from the real-life statements of the actual kids involved in the Bling Ring. Although I support those who choose to home school their kids, incredibly hilarious in this movie is the absurd “home schooling” by one of the moms, who belongs to the “Church” of “The Secret” (yes, the self-help book) and “teaches” her kids a “curriculum” based on “The Secret” during a school day that lasts about two minutes using an aspirational poster board featuring various pictures of Angelina Jolie. Yup, that’s the ticket!

There are two holes in the movie: 1) none of these celebrities seemed to have alarms that worked very well or very fast; and 2) some of them lived in gated communities (I believe Hilton does), and they didn’t show how the “Bling Ring” got around that, (perhaps they didn’t show that for real-life security reasons).

This isn’t a classic movie that you’d want to see over and over again. But it’s fun, very entertaining, and just an excellent insight and observation on America’s future, er . . . future decline. Sofia Coppola really does a great job directing. I loved the way the movie was shot, liked the soundtrack–which was very appropriate to the mindless idiots who populate the movie, etc. Except for Emma Watson (of “Harry Potter” fame), the actors in this movie are all unknowns, but that will probably change. They’re all very good.

In addition to being great social commentary, it’s part comedy, part true crime thriller. There’s something in it for everyone. And at 90 minutes, it’s short and sweet. If you’re wondering why it’s rated “R,” it probably has to do with the fact that there are a lot of scenes of these kids doing heavy drugs–snorting cocaine, etc.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “World War Z“: Some critics are panning this, but in my book it wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t even great as zombie movies go, or even original. But it was entertaining and enjoyable, fast-paced and workmanlike. And an Israeli (female) soldier (Israeli actress Daniella Kertesz) is one of the heroes of the movie, something you’ll almost never see from Hollywood circa 2013.

Unfortunately, a United Nations employee (Brad Pitt) is the main hero of the movie, as if that would ever happen in real life. I saw this movie with a friend who was a guard at Gitmo, and as he said about the UN being the savior, “Well, there’s a first time for everything.” Yup, and with the U.N. that first–and last–time is strictly in the movies.

If there was anything else objectionable, it’s a plot line in which the Israelis discover that zombies are about to take over the world, and they don’t tell anyone, building instead a wall around Israel to keep them out. Was this supposed to be symbolic of the fence to keep out the Islamic terrorist Palestinians? Was it some sort of reminder of false and poisonous Muslim world rumors that continue to circulate, alleging that Jews and Israel knew about 9/11 ahead of time . . . and may have been behind it? Another thing: the Israelis do allow Palestinian Muslims galore into the country to evade the zombies because “every person we save is one less we have to shoot.” Was this some sort of message? And, finally, the Israelis ultimately can’t keep the zombies out because they only have one helicopter monitoring the wall. As if the Israelis would be that inept. Um, that’s American border “security,” not Israeli border security, which is far more vigilant and well-staffed/equipped.

The story: a plague of zombies breaks out as Brad Pitt and family are trapped on the streets of Philadelphia. They escape, using Pitt’s skills as a former secret agent/investigator type for the U.N. And they’re saved by the Deputy Secretary General of the U.N. to live on an aircraft carrier, so long as Pitt agrees to go into the field and find out how the zombie virus started and how to fix it. He flies to a U.S. military base in South Korea, where some great U.S. soldiers save him and teach him a lot about what makes the zombies tick and how to evade them. He also meets a shady CIA operative prisoner, who tells him to go to Israel. That’s the next trip. There Pitt notices something unusual about those whom the zombies avoid. And he meets a heroic female Israeli soldier, who saves his life more than once. Then, it’s off to a World Health Organization base in Wales. Throughout all this, there are scary, harrowing close calls with rabid zombies, and it’s kind of repetitive.

I’m no Brad Pitt fan, but I didn’t hold that against this movie. Overall, the movie was fine. But it’s nothing you haven’t seen before, and nothing that spectacular. Like I said, it was fast paced, full of action, and definitely entertaining throughout.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Much Ado About Nothing“: This is director Joss Whedon’s version of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” and was shot over 12 days at Whedon’s house. It’s billed as a “modern re-telling,” but that’s misleading because the only things modern here are the clothing, time period, and accoutrements. It’s entirely black and white and features the original Shakespearean English dialogue. And that makes it slightly difficult to follow, especially at first because it’s hard to tell who is who. But you eventually figure out what’s going on, and it’s an interesting take on a classic play.


Watch the trailer . . .

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26 Responses

World War Z – I’m guessing “Z” stands for the Zombies – won’t be shown in Muslim countries any time soon. Anything positive about the Jews saving the world – gets banned. We hear a lot about Islamphobia but what we never hear about is the Muslim World’s Judeophobia. And Muslims eerily resemble the fictional Zombies the world is fighting against in this movie.

Joss Whedon is best known for his Buffyverse series that is really very good. This is an original take on the greatest writer who ever lived and most modern adaptations of Shakespeare leaves much to be desired. Whedon has surprised us here and his use of black and white photography is unusual – few films are ever made that way anymore.

Sofia Coppola is deservedly following in her famed father’s footsteps as a director. Our elites are spoiled, self-centered and keeping up with each other so the “The Bing Ring” is a marvelous expose of them. It reminds me of Fellini – “La Dolce Vita” comes to mind and between decadent Rome of the 1960s and the trashier America of the 21st Century, some things have simply gotten worse. Making a comedy about it was a smart move on her part.

NormanF on June 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    “World War Z – I’m guessing “Z” stands for the Zombies – won’t be shown in Muslim countries any time soon.”

    Where do you get your facts?I’m from Pakistan and World War Z premiered on the 21st of June here, I can’t speak for other ‘Muslim countries’, but I’m pretty sure the movie is being screened in Turkey,Malaysia,Indonesia,Lebanon and the UAE.

    “Anything positive about the Jews saving the world – gets banned. We hear a lot about Islamphobia but what we never hear about is the Muslim World’s Judeophobia.”

    I haven’t heard of any Muslim country banning World War Z, there are many Jewish actor in Hollywood that people in Pakistan don’t even know are Jewish because they pass for white.

    Argo was screened in Pakistan and it was really successful, but most Pakistanis didn’t even know Ben Affleck was Jewish.

    You seriously need to travel more and get your information from the right sources.

    Would Israel ever screen a pro-Muslim movie?Was ‘the Reluctant fundamentalist’ screened in Israel?

    “And Muslims eerily resemble the fictional Zombies the world is fighting against in this movie”

    That comment right there showed your true colors, you’re a Muslim-hater and you call us Judeophobes!

    Khan on June 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

      First of all, Ben Affleck is not Jewish. Secondly, you only prove Norman’s point by stating the pakistanis watch Hollywood movies which feature Jewish actors because THEY DON’T KNOW THEY ARE JEWISH. If they knew they were Jewish, would they have gone to see them? The muslim world without a doubt, is rabidly antisemitic. Too band if you can’t handle the truth.

      Laura on June 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm

        That should read “too BAD”.

        Laura on June 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Take a look at the series, “It Takes A Thief,” the reality show where a group of reformed thieves break into the target’s house effortlessly, then rework the security for them to make their house not worth the trouble any more.

Essentially, security on a house with no one present only creates a delay and a warning. If you’re in and out in ten minutes, the police won’t catch you in the act and it’s just a question as to if you were caught on camera or caught selling the stuff for cash.

I notice that Brad Pitt’s wearing the THOR hairstyle.

luagha on June 21, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Not that he’s the only person making this argument, but linguist John McWhorter has argued that anglophones understand Shakespeare less than our counterparts abroad because we bizarrely insist on subjecting ourselves to an obsolete dialect opaquely related to our own at the expense of comprehension. I’m wondering how well Whedon’s MAAN will do overseas as a result.

Robert on June 21, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Debbie, I did see WORLD WAR Z before your review came out. I do agree with you that this is an ok zombie apocalypse flick. However reading the book, when I compare them both, the movie is not good at all. I must admit in the scene of Israel where Israeli soldiers allowing all refugees including Muslims in to get away from the zombie plague was an eye opener because being Hollywood, I was expecting the Israelis acting as modern day Nazis toward the refugees including at the muslims. Like I said the movie is not bad as a stand alone but if you have read the book, you might be disappointed how the movie has taken extreme liberties from the book.

Mario on June 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Speaking of Israel, one of the stars of The Bling Ring is named Israel Broussard. I believe he comes from a religious Christian family, and that’s why he received that name. Cool name!

dee on June 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm

As for Monster’s University- As a Pixar movie, it’s pretty tepid. Still a good movie for the kids, but more of Pixar’s B game. While Monsters Inc set the bar high, this film didn’t succeed nearly as well as Toy Story 3. Aside from a few twists, the plot is pretty predictable and ho-hum; it borrows a bit from Revenge of the Nerds. While I normally love the shorts, The Blue Umbrella wasn’t a strong choice- Presto, One Man Band, and Day & Night were all heads and shoulders above this. One of Pixar’s bottom 4, which places it still amongst Disney’s top third.

Robert on June 22, 2013 at 12:03 am

If we Israelies knew of a zombie attack coming and told the world no one would listen anyways. I avoid any movie foreign or domestic that shows us any slight against us even if there is an Israeli hero as well. Facing Zombies is preferable over Palestinians any day – the Zombies you shoot on sight; The Pals will stab you in the back eventually.

fred on June 22, 2013 at 2:27 am

When I first heard the name ‘Bling Ring’ I just dismissed this film as lightweight, but when I hear that Sofia Coppola is the director, I realize what a mistake that is. In theme it sounds similar to her ‘Somewhere’, on the vapidity of the Hollywood celeb life. The emptiness of alienating modern life is a consistent theme in her films. And Bling Ring appears to continue in that tradition.

I had no idea that World War Z was so Israel centric or featured Israel at all. I’m like uh wow I guess. Since I haven’t seen the film, I have no idea whether the zombie motif and subtext here is anti or pro Israel or both. However it is worth remarking that one of the figurative meanings of ‘zombies’ is humanity as mindless automatons, non-thinking thugs, and dangerous ones at that. The surely unprecedented popularity of zombie films, books and art in our day and age may reflect on an unconscious recognition that we are living in the age of the zombie – mindless thuggery evinced most obviously but by no means exclusively with the Obama cult.

Now if this film portrayed the president and the White House as a zombie house of horrors that would be telling it as it is. And we do have dangerous zombies in Israel already, Shimon Peres is just one of them, the rest staff Ha’Aretz and the faculties of our universities, NGOs and ‘intellectual’ culture. That is they are liberal Jews (and not just in Israel of course). I have several zombies unfortunately in my family tree. Yes in Israel.

I’m curious though if one could perceive the zombies threatening Israel as representing Muslim fanatics? I mean why choose Israel as the epicenter here, I mean that can’t be meaningless given how charged the topic of Israel is whatever one’s political beliefs… Or do the zombies signify something else, other than Muslim fanatics that is? It would be worth looking into the political beliefs of the author of the book… Well what do I discover in a minute via google! The author of the book (of which I know less than nothing) is Max Brooks, the son of Mel Brooks, one of America’s most well-known Jewish comedians (and a Jewish comedian in the best sense of the word). His mother is the actress Anne Bancroft, not Jewish btw. So technically Brooks is not Jewish (according to Jewish law), and yet he is half-Jewish in a sense.

Of course this tells us nothing, when it comes to anti-Israelism, Jewish writers and filmmakers and artists are among the worst offenders (including half-Jewish characters). Yet Jewish writers and half-Jewish writers are of course also often enough the biggest defenders of Israel and anti-dhimmis. What kind is Max Brooks? I don’t really know Mel Brooks’s politics, but they may be more sensible than standard Hollywood Jewish Leftism. Brooks fought at Normandy you know, with the US army.

Anyway my interest in the film is piqued. Normally I cannot stand all this vampire and zombie stuff, although there are exceptions to both.

Larry in Tel Aviv on June 22, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Larry, I just heard a fun “Fresh Air” interview W/Mel Brooks. I was sorry to find out he seemed VERY Liberal.

    Burke, I love that fascinating question of what country would survive a Zombie apocalypse! Fun (and scary!) to think about.

    Skunky on June 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

I saw “World War Z” and liked it. I’m usually no particular fan of zombie movies (unless they involve some twist in the plot, as “Warm Bodies” did). This one was pretty entertaining, though. First of all, the zombies were genuinely scary to me. They ran VERY fast, and in coordinated throngs. Also, the zombies contorted their bodies in extreme ways. Finally, they shrieked out unearthly sounds. These were like no zombies I’d ever seen or heard.

There was no gore in the film: that was a plus.

The production values were fantastic. 200 million was invested in this film, and it shows.

One part of the story that was slightly humorous was that these zombies were attracted to noise rather than smell as they usually are. If you wanted to slip by them, all you needed to do was to be quiet. Unfortunately, there’s a bumbler in every group, and this always alerts the zombies.

Max Brooks’s original novel (upon which this film was based) was admired for its global perspective. He tries to give an answer to this question: “If a catastrophic epidemic broke out (of any kind, zombie or otherwise), which countries would fare best?” Brooks speculates that countries which put a premium on freedom (like the U.S.) would do the worst, but that N. Korea, because it’s totalitarian, would do best, because they could mobilize and quarantine the masses without difficulty (and part of the movie does take place in Korea, just as in the book). Israel, Brooks speculates, would do pretty well also because they’ve built a huge wall and could keep outsiders from contaminating the group inside. However, the producers decided to show Israel in a positive light rather than controversial one, so they have the country allowing Arabs in during the crisis.

Burke on June 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

The best zombie/vampire movie I’ve seen, maybe ever, is The Revenant. It’s insane, grotesque, funny, outrageous, absurd, etc., etc., etc.

Muslims are the real zombie apocalypse. I think maybe at some deep level, which Hollywood became unaware of decades ago, the zombie movies are trying to tell us as much.

Pray Hard on June 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

If I really wanted to be critical of “World War Z,” I would say something about the fact that the hero of the film, played by perfect Brad Pitt, is a U.N. worker. Debbie pointed this out also (as usual, noting the way seemingly trivial incidents and details have larger significance).

There are a lot of resemblances of this film to Steven Soderbergh’s fairly recent “Contagion.” “Contagion” is another film, like this one, that on the surface appears innocent enough, which is odd because Soderbergh is one of the most ideological of hardcore leftists in Hollywood. Manhola Dargis over at the NY Times pointed out something about “Contagion,” though, that I noticed myself: It’s an “advertisement for big government” (all the heroes and helpers in “Contagion” are over at Atlanta’s CDC, while the villain is a self-promoting and unregulated entrepreneur working off the Internet). All that is likewise true with this film, in regard to WHO (which is showcased in big letters even more noticeably than the product placement Pepsi drinks), the U.N., and government in general. Apparently, big government is only evil and corrupt when it involves our Defense Department.

Crusading liberal journalists and caring social workers will always be standard heroes in Hollywood movies, but maybe now world government workers will start being used more as acceptable replacements.

Burke on June 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Actually, Soderbergh steadily has been moving to the Right, as The Weekly Standard observed a little while back. And with a resume featuring “Traffic,” “Ocean’s 11” (and sequels), “Out of Sight,” “The Limey,” “The Informant,” “Haywire” and “Magic Mike” and “Side Effects,” none of which reasonably could be called Leftist, he’d be doing fine anyway.

    R: Huh? Soderbergh is as far-left liberal as they come. The Weekly Standard–which pimped the Arab Spring, arming Libyan rebels, Syrian rebels, and overthrowing Mubarak, and immigration amnesty–is your “Bible” for what is conservative and “moving to the Right”? PUH-LEEZE. Wake. Up. By the way, WS chief William Kristol, in addition to supporting all those things, also supports gun control. DS

    Rocker on June 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Your take on the “The Bling Ring” and rating takes me from maybe seeing to definitely seeing it.

Jackie101 on June 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm

As an avid fan of World War Z, I’ll point out that the “Israel allowing the Palestinians in” is taken from the book. In fact, Israel allowed pretty much anyone in who could make it in time, Arab or Jew. The premise was that Israel realized it was going to be facing a zombie apocalypse, it would need all the warm bodies it could get.

Note also in the book Israel *did* warn the US. The warnings were ignored by the US government because it didn’t tally up with what the CIA was seeing (and the CIA failed to put the pieces together). They imply this in the movie (the speech about the “tenth man having a duty to disagree”–one of my favorite speeches in the movie, because it’s accurate), but never come out and say it.

All in all, I think Debbie called it. It’s a fun movie, but it’s not five stars. It is nice seeing Israeli soldiers being depicted as heroic and smart–I think not seeing the Heyl Ha’avir working over the zombie hordes was from a lack of CGI money, not any political reason. Note that, aside from a blink-and-you-miss-it shot of A-10s, the USAF doesn’t make an appearance either (and when it does, it’s using *Russian* equipment!).

sentinel28a on June 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

OK, I watched WW Zerostan courtesy of my allahu akbar Saudi “friends”.

No, no sorry. Human nature is not nescessarily antithetical to stupidity or weakness simply by being virtue of being human nature.
A Trojan horse remains a Trojan horse remains a trojan horse no matter how many sentimental Hollywood BS coats of paint you give it.

Funny how the one Jewish person Matt Damon – sorry Brad Pitt with better hair saves for his 911 rewrite is the one person who could have destroyed the world if he wasn’t the hero he always tried so hard not to be.

Then what what do we get for the grand finale. The ultimate liberal dream. He’ll infect the host by making himself invisible to the host.
How do you do that?
Use your imagination it’s easy if you try.
Just pretend to be an innocuous version of the host and infiltrate.
You lose libtards.
Only Hollywood could produce a movie this stupid.
And by the way isn’t there anything better than the Zombie genre to infect a whole new generation of movie going popcorn retards with the “imaginative” liberal mindset?
Guess not.

5* betrayed and violated Gaddafis 🙂 5* George Clooneys 😉 5* Jon (who’s laughing now dipshit?) Liebowitzs 😉

Oh, sorry did I forget to kiss your Hollywood ass?

migraine boy on June 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

*simply by being virtue of human nature*

I don’t care about the rest of this garbage because a Shakespearean play in a contemporary setting no matter how true to the original dialogue is the ultimate contemporary cliché for retards who need a crash course in what Shakespeare is supposed to mean to contemporary retards.

migraine boy on June 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm


migraine boy on June 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Hasn’t it struck everyone that the Zombies are a metaphor for Muslims – once you’re infected you become a rabid dog, infecting others and destroying civilization.

george on June 24, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I think that’s pretty much the obvious and correct interpretation of WW Islamo Zombie.
    Israel can’t be an accidental location choice.
    WWZ isn’t really about a Zombie invasion though.
    It’s about how not to fight a Zombie invasion.

    In a lot of ways this movie is reminiscent of 12 Monkeys only with a pseudo happy ending.
    David Morse appears once again as the sardonic harbinger of doom with a cultural death wish.

    migraine boy on June 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

I watched “Monster University.” I liked it. I hope you review it soon. You’d like it.

Ghostwriter on June 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm

wow deb, 3 positive reviews, is that a record?

Dave on June 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Re: “Much Ado About Nothing”:

Why would black-and-white film and archaic dialogue make it difficult to work out who is whom? Unless you watched the film blindfolded…

Black-and-white cinematography doesn’t necessarily denote the director going for an “old” feel to the film. Black-and-white can be used to express many other things (moodiness, a dream-like state, etc). Let’s not forget that they didn’t even HAVE photography back in the time if The Bard. Now, a film such as “The Artist” set in the 1920s using B&W photography? That’s different.

Re: “The Bling Ring”:

I’m no advocate of a certain overexposed hotel heiress (I can’t even bring myself to type her name), but what you’re forgetting is just that–she is an HEIRESS. Her family acquired wealth the old-fashioned capitalist way, remember? It’s HER family’s money, THEY can do with it as they please. If they want to let her visit extravagant parties, make porno videos, and basically do bugger all…well, is that your business?

Debbie, if YOUR parents, grandparents, et al made a mint in the hotel racket, and you grew up living a fairytale princess life, I bet you wouldn’t complain, either.

I never thought I’d see the day when Debbie would read like such an ardent socialist. Celebrities with too much money…gee, I bet that REALLY upsets your capitalist-individualist mindset. Nevermind that it’s people like yourself who purchase the products that these overpaid celebs shill, thus keeping them in business. Ever stayed at the Hilton, Debbie? You’re part of the problem.

Mark on July 24, 2013 at 9:38 am

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